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climate change

May 7, 2012


Graham Readfearn writes: In a promotional video for the upcoming Heartland Institute’s climate change sceptics’ conference in Chicago, the think-tank’s president Joseph Bast said the scientists coming together for the shindig “deserve a lot of attention”.

So how would Joe Bast help them to gain that richly deserved attention?

How about sticking a picture of murderer and terrorist Ted Kaczynski — a.k.a the Unabomber — on a giant billboard next to the words “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?”

Continue reading “Heartland unleashes the Unabomber in its newest advertising campaign”

climate change

May 4, 2012


Graham Readfearn writes: Right now we’re in the middle of the global dissemination of a gross misrepresentation of facts.

The line currently being spun by climate change sceptic commentators and bloggers is that climate change scientists have lied about getting death threats.

At the same time a campaign of systematic abuse of climate scientists in an attempt to get them to withdraw from public debate is being ignored.

This spin-cycle started yesterday in The Australian, with a story reporting the findings of a report from the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.

Pilgrim ordered that 11 documents turned up through a Freedom of Information request to the Australian National University could, against the wishes of the university, be released to the public.

Pilgrim concluded that ten of the 11 documents “contain abuse in the sense that they contain insulting and offensive language” but did not contain “threats to kill or threats of harm”.

Oh. Well that’s OK then? Continue reading “Hate campaign against climate scientists hits the denier spin-cycle”

climate change

Apr 19, 2012


Paul Mitchell, climate change advisor at Save the Children Australia, writes: Today, politicians, academics, the UN, aid agencies and community workers from around the world are all gathering in Vietnam. They’re there to talk about community-based adaptation. Adaptation to what, how and where? That’s where it gets interesting.

Three weeks ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a landmark report that shows the connections between climate change and extreme weather events. Climate change, as we know, is largely the result of greenhouse gas emissions that come from all communities, everywhere in the world. The impact caused by these emissions will also be felt around the world.

According to the report, the effects of climate change can already be felt through extreme weather events like heat waves, which have significantly increased over the past 60 years. Other extremes that already affect vulnerable communities, are projected to worsen — flooding, intense rains, rising sea levels, droughts, and stronger tropical storms will strike communities more often and be less predictable. Knowing in advance that these events may lead to disasters, allows donors and agencies to help communities adapt to the changes and be better prepared for current and future impacts before disaster strikes.

Because the truth is, although the impact of climate change will be felt by all, the extremes will hit some harder than others. The irony is that the people and communities least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions will bear the brunt of the impacts. While this is in part due to geography, the overwhelming reason is poverty. Continue reading “How to get poverty-stricken communities to adapt to climate change”

climate change

Apr 12, 2012


A seminal article by climate scientists in 1981 has proved eerily accurate at predicting global temperature rises over the past three decades, with its lead author James Hansen telling Crikey that his early research on global warming “seems to hold up remarkably well”.

Hansen, now one of the world’s leading experts on climate science and the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was one of seven scientists who wrote the 10-page report in Science in 1981 that examined the impact of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The New York Times ran a front-page story on it at the time, noting that “the seven atmospheric scientists predict a global warming of ‘almost unprecedented magnitude’ in the next century.”

Dutch scientists Geert Jan van Oldenborgh and Rein Haarsma recently dug up the old report and compared Hansen et al’s projections of global mean temperatures to the actual temperatures of the past three decades and found the 1981 projections to be surprisingly close. Continue reading “Global warming projections from 1981 prove tellingly accurate”

climate change

Apr 10, 2012


Noel Turnbull, adjunct professor of media and communications at RMIT University, writes: New research provides some intriguing insights into why, and what sort of, conservatives oppose climate change and distrust scientists.

Gordon Gauchat of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has recently found that there are significant differences in how certain groups think about science and the scientific community — particularly discovering that the conservatives most likely to distrust the scientific community tend to better educated than those who do trust it. Continue reading “Conservatives and climate change: it’s complicated”

climate change

Mar 14, 2012


Australia’s getting hotter — particularly at night, rainfall is erratic, carbon emissions are up and our sea levels are increasing at two to three times the global average. That’s the latest data to emerge from the State of the Climate 2012 report, which observes Australia’s climate and analyses the factors that influence it.

Scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO worked together to produce the report, the second since the first State of the Climate report in 2010.

The data on global warming shows that annual-average daily maximum temperatures in Australia have increased by 0.75 degrees since 1910, with the majority of the increase occurring since 1970. Average Australian temperatures are expected to keep increasing, with a rise of 0.6 degrees (taking it to a total of 1.5 degrees since the 1980-1999 period) projected by 2030.

Nights are getting even warmer, with annual-average nightly minimum temperatures increasing by 1.1 degrees since 1910. Of that 1.1 degrees warming, 0.8 of it has occured since 1960. Each decade since the 1950s has been warmer than the last. Continue reading “Hotter, more erratic weather and higher sea levels: CSIRO”


Feb 14, 2012


Crikey intern Freya Cole writes: Rather than trying to convince climate sceptics with science, should we just wait for them to die off?

That’s the argument raised in a recent Grist article, where writer David Roberts argues that “cohort replacement” — that, is people dying and being replaced by a new, more educated generation — may be the best move to combat climate deniers:

 “A great many people believe that one of the primary barriers to action on climate change is the existence of a cadre of ‘climate deniers’ — people who refuse to accept the now-overwhelming scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change …

“I don’t think the climate deniers will ever change their minds. What will happen is that they will, to put it bluntly, die off. We might wish it otherwise, but I fear that change on climate — real change, non-linear change — will not happen until the generational cohort in which climate denialism is concentrated begins passing into the sweet beyond.”

The problem with that strategy, says Australian Youth Climate Coalition national director Ellen Sandell, is death is too far away: “Unfortunately, we don’t have that long to wait, all the science is saying that we have a narrow opportunity in which to act. Action needs to happen before they die because the longer we wait the harder it gets to make a difference.”

Continue reading “Death isn’t an option: climate change activists aren’t waiting for deniers to die”

climate change

Feb 10, 2012


Rather than writing, the biggest thing a journalist seems to do is read (at least that seems to be the case for me). There’s lot of great environment reading that I do during the week that I don’t get a chance to write about, so I’ve decided a weekly Rooted Reading List is a good way of sharing these articles. So check back every Friday arvo for it and feel free to add in your own top reading picks from around the web in comments.

First up a fascinating article in the University of St Thomas magazine about its professor Dr John Abraham, who garnered international attention in 2010 when he put together a 73 minute presentation that forensically pulls apart an entire speech made by well-known climate sceptic Christopher Monckton. Continue reading “Welcome to the first official Rooted Reading List”

climate change

Jan 31, 2012


Graham Readfearn writes: What’s news these days when it comes to climate change? Could it be the news that rising temperatures could severely affect the world’s wheat crops maybe? Or how about how human emissions of carbon dioxide have “raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations“?

Nah. Well, at least not if you’re The Australian, which just loves to send reality spinning down rabbit holes when it comes to climate change. What’s news for The Australian is that 16 “scientists” with outlying views on the risks of human-caused climate change have dusted off their previously debunked talking points for an editorial in The Wall Street Journal.

So confident was The Australian about the “facts” contained in the editorial, they didn’t bother to get a single response from an actual working Australian climate scientist. So let’s do a quick fact check for ourselves.

Continue reading “Is a misleading climate change op-ed in The Wall Street Journal really news?”

climate change

Jan 30, 2012


An official fighting fund for climate scientists battling freedom of information requests from well-funded climate denier think tanks has been established in the United States.

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) was established last year after Scott Mandia, a professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College put a plea on his blog for the scientific community to help fund the legal costs of University of Virginia climatologist Dr Michael Mann. Mann fought against FOI requests from the American Tradition Institute — a think tank that aims to battle “radical environmentalist junk science head on” — for his emails.

Within 24 hours the science community had raised $10,000 to help Dr Michael Mann’s legal costs and the CSLDF was born. Continue reading “A fighting fund for climate scientists battling FOI requests”